Dumfries rally driver David Bogie made his mark on the history books of the RSAC Scottish Rally, by claiming his third event victory in a row on Saturday (18th May), taking his tally to six on the Moffat based event.
Bogie, co-driven by Irishman John Rowan, steered his Skoda Fabia R5 to an almost picture-postcard victory, winning four out of the events six stages, to equal the record held by legendary British driver Roger Clark. The Borders town of Duns was able to claim the remaining two places on the podium, with Euan Thorburn and Garry Pearson rounding out the top three.
The 74th running of the Dumfries & Galloway Council sponsored event had attracted a top-class entry of over 80 cars to the region for round three of the hotly contested KNC Groundworks Scottish Rally Championship. The rally would see crews tackle over 40 miles of competitive action in classic forests such as Ae, Twiglees and Castle O’er with the town of Moffat playing host to the start and finish ceremonies for the first time.
Bogie would take first blood on the opening Twiglees test which was a difficult start for the crews thanks to the onset of rain as they started the stage. But his lead was a slender one as the battle behind him for second would begin in earnest and continue for the rest of the day between Thorburn and Pearson.
The duelling Duns drivers equalled on time in the opener with Thorburn and co-driver Paul Beaton edging away in their more powerful Ford Focus WRC on the second test. Pearson, with Dale Bowen alongside, did his best to drag his Ford Fiesta R5 to Thorburn’s pace and would stamp his mark on the time-sheets in stage three with an overall fastest time.
Thorburn admitted to an overshoot in stage four, which dropped him some time but taking nothing away from Pearson’s charge which saw him move into second place with two stages remaining. But the Focus WRC pilot turned up the wick over the closing loop to edge out Pearson, taking a scratch time on the fifth test to secure second, leaving Pearson to scoop the final podium spot.
Out front, Bogie was almost untouchable, and aside from Pearson’s stage three win and Thorburn’s stage five fastest time, won every stage to claim a record equalling victory on what is effectively his home rally. He was delighted with his first rally win of 2019 and to make his mark in the history books.
“It’s a great achievement to have equalled Roger Clark’s number of wins but every victory is important to me and it’s even better to do that here on my home event” he said.
“Of course, it was a much tougher rally back then but look, it’s still a tough event and when I go rallying, I want to win so it’s still a fantastic result. It was a real mixed bag of stages today. Some were wet, some dry and there were a lot of surface changes in there, so it was a difficult one, but it’s great to spray the champagne in front of family and friends here in Moffat to finish the rally.”
2011 Scottish Rally winner Jock Armstrong from Castle Douglas suffered a difficult day behind the wheel of his Subaru Impreza. With Cammy Fair in the co-driver’s seat, the pairing couldn’t quite match the pace of the leading trio and secured fourth spot and valuable SRC championship points.
Banchory’s Bruce McCombie overcame numerous start line stalls to haul his Focus WRC into fifth place. McCombie and co-driver Michael Coutts have been getting to grips with the machine after changing from a Mitsubishi late last year.
Roger Chilman and Paul Morris made their appearance in Scotland a worthwhile one by being first two-wheel-drive crew home in their Ford Escort Mk2. Chilman finished 12th overall.
After finishing in Moffat for the first time in 2018, the rally returned this year, choosing to utilise the town for the start ceremony as well thanks to the support of the local townsfolk. The change was a welcome one as fans flocked to the celebrations, as well as enjoying an action-packed day in the forests.
Craig Webster, Publicity Co-ordinator for the rally, is delighted with how the event has been received.
“It really doesn’t get much better than this” he said.
“We have had a great win today by what is effectively our home driver and they have really been enjoying the stages on offer which are known the world over for their challenging nature. Spectators braved the weather to watch some of the best drivers in the UK tackle the forests in our stunning region and flocked to Moffat to help them celebrate at the podium. A huge thanks to our sponsors Dumfries and Galloway Council and of course to each of our crews, marshals and officials for a pretty much perfect event”.